Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated condition that causes dry skin, inflammation, and rashes that may be itchy and painful. A person may also notice skin discoloration and the development of gray or silvery scales. The bellybutton, or umbilicus, is one of the areas that psoriasis most commonly affects.

Psoriasis is a chronic condition, meaning that it is incurable and can be lifelong. However, various treatments are available that can improve a person’s symptoms and quality of life.

In this article, we look at the types of psoriasis, how it may affect the bellybutton, and the possible complications. We also discuss the outlook for people with psoriasis and explain when to speak with a doctor.

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Psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition. It causes skin cells to develop more rapidly than usual, which can lead to the formation of scaly plaques that may be itchy, painful, and uncomfortable.

On dark skin tones, psoriasis can present as dark brown or purple patches with gray scales. On light skin tones, psoriasis can appear as red or pink patches with white or silver scales.

People with psoriasis experience flare-ups, during which their symptoms become intense, and periods of remission, when the symptoms recede. Flare-ups may sometimes have environmental causes that are difficult to predict.

There are different types of psoriasis, which may produce different symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Types of psoriasis

The types of psoriasis include:

  • Plaque psoriasis: This type is also called psoriasis vulgaris. It is the most common type of psoriasis and affects about 80% of people with the condition. Plaques, which are raised and inflamed patches of scaly skin, can present anywhere on the body, but they tend to appear on or inside the bellybutton and on the lower back, knees, elbows, and scalp.
  • Guttate psoriasis: This type presents as small spots, which often appear on the arms, torso, and legs but can affect any part of the body. Guttate psoriasis is less common than plaque psoriasis, affecting about 8% of people with the condition.
  • Inverse psoriasis: This type of psoriasis causes smooth, deeply inflamed skin. It typically affects areas of the body where the skin folds, such as around the genitals, under the breasts, and in the armpits. It can cause pain and itching.
  • Pustular psoriasis: This rare type of psoriasis affects about 3% of people with the condition. It causes inflamed skin that surrounds painful, pus-filled bumps. It can cover the majority of the body, or it may only appear in certain areas, such as on the hands or feet.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis: This very rare form of psoriasis causes intense shedding of the skin in large sheets, typically over the entire body. This type of psoriasis is severe and can be life threatening.

People can get psoriasis in the bellybutton. In fact, it is one of the body parts that the condition most commonly affects, along with the knees, elbows, scalp, and lumbar region.

It is most likely that psoriasis in the bellybutton will be plaque psoriasis, as this is the most common type. A person may also develop inverse psoriasis in their bellybutton.


The symptoms that a person experiences in the bellybutton will depend on the type and extent of psoriasis.

If plaque psoriasis affects the bellybutton, the symptoms may include:

  • thick, raised plaques of varying sizes in and around the bellybutton
  • itching and pain in and around the bellybutton
  • small and large plaques joining together to become large plaques
  • thin, silver, gray, or white scales covering some plaques

If a person has inverse psoriasis in the bellybutton, the symptoms may include:

  • painful skin near or in the bellybutton
  • raw-looking, smooth patches of skin in or around the bellybutton
  • little or no gray or silvery scales

Although there is no cure for psoriasis, various treatments may improve the symptoms. These include:

  • Prescription medications: A dermatologist or doctor may prescribe the following for psoriasis:
    • oral retinoids, which can help the skin stop overproducing cells and reduce swelling and discoloration
    • methotrexate, which can suppress an overactive immune system
    • apremilast, which can reduce discoloration and scales
    • biologics, which target the overactive part of the immune system
  • Topical treatments: A doctor or dermatologist may prescribe topical treatments to apply to the bellybutton area. These may include ingredients such as:
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: These may benefit people with mild psoriasis. The ingredients might include:
    • coal tar
    • corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone
    • anti-itch products
    • scale softeners
  • Light therapy, or phototherapy: Phototherapy for psoriasis involves a dermatologist or doctor shining a particular type of UV light on the affected skin, which can help suppress the overactive immune system and slow the growth of skin cells over time.

Anyone who is experiencing discomfort or pain due to psoriasis in the bellybutton or elsewhere on the body should contact a doctor, particularly if the condition is affecting their quality of life. Without treatment, the condition can become more severe or lead to complications.

A doctor may be able to diagnose psoriasis based on its appearance. In some cases, they may refer the person to a specialist for treatment. They may also perform tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, to rule out associated conditions, including psoriatic arthritis.

People with psoriasis may have an increased risk of developing other conditions.

Psoriatic arthritis

Up to 30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, and 68% of people with this type of arthritis first develop skin symptoms. Psoriatic arthritis can cause swelling in the fingers and toes, stiffness and pain in the joints, and reduced mobility.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

According to research, psoriasis and IBD have genetic factors in common and share possible links. People with psoriasis may be more likely to develop conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.


Some research suggests that psoriasis increases the risk of developing cancer, particularly liver, oral, esophageal, or pancreatic cancer.

Eye complications

People with psoriasis may be more likely to develop particular eye conditions, with up to 20% of these individuals experiencing uveitis. Other possible eye-related complications include:

Parkinson’s disease

People with psoriasis could have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease that causes chronic neural tissue inflammation. This inflammation results in tremors and gait and balance difficulties.

The types of psoriasis likely to affect the bellybutton, such as plaque or inverse psoriasis, are not life threatening. However, they are lifelong, chronic conditions that are likely to alternate between flare-ups and periods of remission. The condition ranges from mild to severe.

Psoriasis is linked to certain conditions that may be severe or life threatening, most likely due to inflammation. It is a multisystem inflammatory disorder, meaning that people living with it have a higher risk of comorbidities. These include inflammatory arthritis, cardiovascular problems, and stroke.

There are different types of psoriasis, and the type will affect how plaques appear and the severity of the condition. People with psoriasis in the bellybutton typically have either plaque psoriasis, which is the most common type, or inverse psoriasis, which develops in skin folds.

A doctor or dermatologist may prescribe oral or topical medications to treat psoriasis in the bellybutton, or a person can try OTC treatments to alleviate mild symptoms. Phototherapy may also ease the symptoms.

Psoriasis in the bellybutton may cause discomfort, pain, and itching. It is unlikely to be life threatening, but it has various associated comorbidities.

Anyone with concerns about their psoriasis symptoms should contact a doctor for advice and appropriate treatment.